NEW LONDON -- The crash that killed three Campbellsport high school girls over the weekend is still sinking in for many, in the small Fond du Lac County community, but the families of two of the girls killed, are making sure their daughters' memories live on. According to the girls' obituaries, Caitlin Scannel donated her tissues for transplant purposes, and Katie Berg left behind her heart for a nine-year-old boy.
At Theda-Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Dr. Ray Georgen is the director of the trauma center. He is in charge of the organ donation program at the hospital. Dr. Georgen says asking a grieving family about organ donation is difficult, but it's a decision that can save lives. "It's an incredible gift in the face of incredible tragedy, but the benefits that occur, the ramifications, are enormous," Dr. Georgen said.
Daphne Hankey's son Mitchel died in a car crash in 2009, and Hankey says her family was in shock when the doctors asked if they wanted his organs donated. "When they approached us about organ donation, it seemed to be the only thing that made sense, because he had so much to offer that wasn't going to save him," Hankey said.
Making the decision to donate, and sharing the information with loved ones can make it easier in a difficult situation. "Knowing who Mitchel was, and knowing his values and his ideas, I wouldn't even doubt that he would have said 'yes, go ahead,'" Hankey said.
Dr. Georgen says they've seen many benefit from donated organs. "We've seen lives saved by heart transplants, lung transplants, kidneys, pancreas, liver, skin, bone, corneas, it goes on and on," Dr. Georgen said.
While nothing will bring back the young lives lost in the Campbellsport crash, Hankey says the satisfaction of donating a loved one's organs helps with the healing process. "We've actually been in contact with two of his recipients, and just meeting a family that is able to have because he made it worth it, he would have liked dying somebody's hero," Hankey said.
The need for organ donation is great is Wisconsin. 1,500 people need organs and last year, just 200 donated.
CLICK HERE for more information on organ donation in Wisconsin, and to sign the Organ Donor Registry.